Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Overdue Christmas Recap

I realize that today is the last day of 2008, so I need to fit in one last post.  I'm determined not to carry-over a Christmas post into 2009.  The lack of posts are not due to lack of material! Come tomorrow, I'll be catching up on the craziness around here BEFORE Christmas.  Buckle up!  It'll be quite a ride.

In a nutshell, our Christmas was great!  The whole week flew by and was really packed full of busy-ness and fun.  I'll try to keep this recap down to the bare bones...which shouldn't be hard, since the longer I go without posting anything, the more I forget and therefore, the less there is to post.

Tuesday, we were visited by someone almost as important in this house as santa: LINDSAY!  Our nanny ( technically, she's our "former" nanny, but I'm in denial) has been off serving the Lord on a mission's trip around the world.  She was granted a one-week "vacation" here at home, so we got her all day on Tuesday.  She even picked up Zoe from school...MADE HER DAY!

Christmas Eve (Wednesday), we all went to church and then the whole family came to our house for the traditional "appetizer" dinner.  All = Ringwood Higby 5, Midland Park Higby 3, MD Higby 1, W. Milford Touw 5 (no Jacob) and us 7.  Phew, that's a lot of family.  In the old days (i.e. When Shane was a kid) each of the kids would "present" a "gift".  Shane would read the Christmas story from the bible, his sister would play the violin, you get the picture.  This year, we thought the kids were old enough to start this tradition back up.  Pop Pop Higby started "the program" (as Zoe called it) by reading to the kids.  Things went downhill from there.  Even though they were so excited PRE-Christmas Eve, (Zoe even typed up a list of what everyone was planning to do) the kids got a little shy.  Kaylee did a little dance for us.  Zoe read/recited Luke 2:7-12 (her memory verse from school).  We all joined Ty and closed with "Away in a Manger".  Maybe next year, it'll go a little smoother.

Before bed, Shane was reading the kids a Christmas story and Zoe informed him that Santa was NOT real.  When he asked how she knew, Zoe flipped the book over and said, "see...right says 'fiction'."  Ok.  I guess we have a future librarian on our hands.

Christmas Day we had a wonderful morning here at home.  First, we put the babies in their gated community and let Zoe & Ty have our undivided attention while they opened their presents.  When I asked Zoe what her favorite gift was, she couldn't choose: her first "Big Girl" Bible, Clothes & Wardrobe for her American Girl Doll, or her decked out 3-ring Binder.  Yes, the office products addict enthusiast was THRILLED with her "binder". Ty's was equally hard to choose from: a new (blue) DS Lite, Hess Truck, or Action Dress Up Chest (policeman, fireman, astronaut, racecar driver/pit boss).  I think he was just being nice, clearly, he loved the DS.

After the big kids were done, we brought the babies each their gift.  Single.  One gift per baby.  Ava slowly ripped small piece after small piece of wrapping paper off her gift until eventually, the purse was reveled.  Then she got really excited and tried to rip the purse off the annoying cardboard box it was tied to in 1000 a few places.  Eli picked up his present and chucked the fully wrapped present as far as he could.  Cole was more of a traditional unwrapper.  By the end of the day, they were much more into the presents and the unwrapping.

The rest of the day was spent at Shane's parents' house.  8 kids ages 6 and under.  9 adults.  Brunch.  Naps. Dinner.  A full day of family.  Ty lost his new DS baseball game.  Must be a new record: under 6 hours.  Why do they need to make those games so stinkin' small!?!?!  I think maybe one of the triplets found it and put it in the garbage (they were having a blast putting things in the trash can with the flippy lid).  Next year, I'd like to suggest a change in the schedule.  This year, we ate...put the kids down...they slept...then they woke up...then we ate again.  I'd like to change things up so we could maybe eat while the little kids slept?  Does anyone know where Nana and PopPop keep their suggestion box?

Around 6, we packed up from the Higby's and headed home.  As fast as we could (which clearly isn't that fast since it took 2 hours), we unloaded the minivan, packed our suitcases and reloaded the minivan so we could head up to Connecticut to visit my folks.

Our time with my parents was great.  On Friday, we did Christmas all over again with my parents and my older brother.  After dinner, my Dad (Granddad) and Shane took the big kids sledding.  It was a bit icy and apparently, there was a "jump" that the kids liked to make sure Daddy always went over.  Apparently, it was big enough for Daddy to "get air". 

Saturday, we visited Kids City in Middletown.  It was a blast.  The kids loved it.  Kids City is a hands-on experience.  They have all sorts of themed rooms: Space, Fish Market, Video room, etc. They even have a special area for 3-year-olds and under.  BIG HIT for us.  We definitely got our money's worth out of the visit.  Feeling brave, we stopped by McDonald's for lunch.  SUCCESS!  We were in and out of there in a half hour.  Our 5 kids finished 2 happy meals plus 2 extra 4 piece chicken nuggets & a small fries.  By the end of the day, the kids were exhausted.  But the parents managed to save enough energy for a scrabble game.  Even though Dad started with a 7 letter word earning him 64 points, I managed to tie him in the final move of the game.  Quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself!

(Zoe putting some fish on the belt...a lot of fun, apparently.)
(Ty checking out the igloo.)
(Eli LOVED the bubbles!)
(Ava checking out the "Reading Nook".)
(Cole getting some serious speed on a slide in the Music Room.)
(Grammy & Granddad with the Higby 5)

My younger brother and his family came into town late Saturday night.  So, after church on Sunday, we had another quick Christmas present exchange and then headed over to JC Penny Portrait Studio for a Christgau Cousins picture.  I'm not sure if it was as much work as the Higby shot, but it was successful.  Unfortunately for you, you'll have to wait until mid-January to see it, sorry.

After dinner, we headed home and collapsed.  Christmas is great, but it sure is exhausting!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not Ruining a Surprise

I've been DYING to post this since last Wednesday.  But, since it's Nana & PopPop's Christmas Present, I couldn't.  Well, Saturday night, the grandkids gave Nana & PopPop their gift, so the cat's out of the bag!


And when you're done looking...look again...and then...some more.  Because getting nine (yes 9) kids to sit for a picture was a lot of work.  Did I mention that the oldest is 7?  And the there are four (yes 4) one-year-olds?  Shannon (my bff & SIL) and I, along with my sitter, Becca (shout out, Ydo Babe!) took these rugrats beauties to Picture People last Wednesday.  It was QUITE an adventure.  (Note the blocks in the picture...that's how we kept Eli & Cole's attention.  We'd throw them to the boys...they'd throw them back!)  Shane picked up our 5 after we were done.  When he saw me, he said I looked like I'd just worked out (ummm...yeah!).  And Thursday, I was more sore than after I ran my 10k.  It must have been all the chasing of one-year-olds, picking them up, and squatting to put them back on their "marks".  

The end result shows each and every personality!  PRICELESS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Makes My Monday

What makes my Monday?  A surprise Baby Sitter!

This is from when Salliann & I ran the Ramsey 5k.

I'm borrowing a Pack & Play from Salli for Christmas at my In-Laws (4 one-year-olds all need naps and we only have 3 P&Ps between us).  When I texted while in line to drop of Ty for his Preschool Christmas party to see if I could pick it up, Salli offered to watch the triplets so I could go to BJs solo!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Santa came early! Thanks so much, Salliann!  You're the best!  BJs was so much easier without entertaining "the littles".  And your Pack & Play is appreciated, too!

To see what's making other people's Monday, check out Cheryl over at Twinfatuation.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Once I got over the frustration that school was cancelled at 6am and it didn't start snowing until 10am, I decided we would enjoy the day.  It just took a few pots of coffee for me to get to that point.  Cole & Ava are still waking up in the middle of the night.  No reason.  Just being babies.  Hopefully, it's a phase.  I've been saying that for awhile now, but seriously.  Maybe it's a phase?

Back to the snow...

(This was at 2p...we ended up with at least 8 inches)

Before I went to bed on Thursday, I made a list on the board for Zoe & Ty to see in the morning.  It had 11 fun things to do on a snow day.  We did 7 of them!  Including making a snowman craft from Nana, making a gift for teachers, and decorating sugar cookies! 

Oh boy!  Did they make a mess.  The cookies may not be the prettiest I've ever seen, but they were made with love and I guess that's more important.  Right?

Since I have a "once your out, your out...come in and you're in for good" rule, the kids waited until they were ready for a good hour of play before they headed outside.

(The "Before"...Ready for the snow)

(Clearing off the slide.)

(The "After")

Once Daddy got home from work, they went back out.

This morning, they slept past 7:30a.  I LOVE the snow!!!!!  Now if I could just get the triplets out enjoying it, maybe they'd get tired enough to sleep that good!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordful Wednesday - Cozy Breakfast

Okay, before I post this picture, I need to preface it with the following statement:

Please follow my mother's #1 rule...Is it kind?  Is it true?  Is it necessary?
If you cannot answer "yes" to all three questions...PLEASE KEEP YOUR COMMENT TO YOURSELF!

Eli has been quietly watch Miss Ava at mealtime.  She's developed a bad habit.  She wiggles out of her buckle enough to turn around and play with the lightswitch.

Eli, obviously, thinks this looks like fun.  So Sunday morning, while I was running around trying to get breakfast on the table and us out the door for church, I apparently forgot to tighten Eli's seatbelt.

Please note that Cole is sitting quietly eating his french toast sticks.

To enjoy other blogger's Wordful Wednesday pictures, visit Angie over at Seven Clown Circus!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Met a Blog Reader!

Okay, so technically, I didn't so much "meet" her as "saw her again"...
...and technically...I've known her for over 11 years...
...and technically...she reads my blog BECAUSE she's my friend...
...but it sounds so much cooler to say that I met a blog reader!

This is my friend Lari.  She's awesome!

(Can I just point out how DORKY I look?  Lari totally has the Charlie's Angels pose down...not me so much!)

Lari's been in Hungary for a few years as a missionary.  She moved to Seattle about a year ago to work (with her husband) in the administration of their missions agency: Youth Compass.  Youth Compass is a really cool organization.  You can read all about it on the website, but in a nutshell, they reach out to third culture kids: Kids that live in a "foreign" country with their parents, who's job has taken them abroad.

Back to Lari.  When she first left for the mission field, I didn't even HAVE kids.  Then, she came back to visit, and I let her know Ty was on his way.  A little over a year later, she and her family stayed with us for about 2 weeks while visiting with supporters here in the NJ area.  A lot has changed since I saw Lari almost 3 years ago.  But what's NOT Lari.  She is the same, down-to-earth, loveable, funny, caring, loving, sweet, unique, honest...I could go on, but I won't.

(She was VERY excited to meet the triplets!)

I just want Lari know how much I love her and her friendship.  Having someone in your life that doesn't just tell you what you want to hear...and does it with rare...and SO important.  Thanks, Lari!  Love you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Improved!

Remember way back in May, when I ran my first 5k?  Ugh.  Those days feel so long ago.

Saturday (12/6), a few of my friends and I ran in another 5k.  I was about 26 degrees out.  I couldn't feel my toes until mile 2.

Although there are no pictures (not only was it too cold for Shane to bring all the kids, he was home sick), I feel the need to let you all know...I cut over 3 minutes off that Memorial Day time.

My official time was 29.41

Next stop: a Half Marathon!
Please don't hold me to that...but it IS my goal...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I was feeling brave

I've always wanted to be a mom that was creative and fun.  One that did fun and messy projects with her kids.  A mom that had activities planned and organized for after homework time was done.

I'm not one of those moms.

I don't like messes.  I hate play-doh.  I loathe sandboxes.  Painting only happens in warm weather around here so that it can be done OUTSIDE.  For crying out loud, the LEGOs are on the top shelf and RARELY come down...if ever!

But it's mid-December and there isn't much Christmas happening around here.  Shane's been sick.  Too sick to do the outside decorations and too sick to take the big kids for a tree.  I haven't done much shopping.  I've done practically NO baking.  Aside from a few snowmen, nativity sets and the advent calendar, I'm not feeling very Christmassy.  So, I think I may have over-compensated:

They had a blast!  And, honestly, it really wasn't that bad.  Sure, the icing got a little messy, but next time, I'll do things a little differently.  Yes, I said next time!  I think we might make this an annual tradition.  Not only did the kids have fun, now I have another decoration.  Bonus for the fact that I don't have to actually STORE it after Christmas is over!

Here's the finished product.

(Zoe's side...notice various attempts at patterns)

(Ty's may notice he didn't get to to gumballs in time...Zoe snagged 'em all!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No Longer In Denial

When I finally sat down tonight to catch up on some DVR'ed shows, I popped open my laptop and realized I haven't posted on my blog in almost a week.  That hardly seems possible.  I mean, it's not like I haven't had topics.  So I guess there's only one other answer: I'm busy!  Seriously.  How's that seem possible?  I've only just started Christmas shopping.  It's not like I've got Christmas cards to write (since there's no picture...there's no card).  Baking hasn't started.  There's no tree up.  So what, on earth, have I been busy with?

There are plenty of pictures and stories to come...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordful Wednesday

This is actually from a month or so ago, but it's definitely my WW today.  I just posted about "being stretched" and ever since, have really felt it!  Today, the two "big kids" are home from school sick.  I can't say I'm looking forward to today's particular stretching, but I am encouraged that Ava woke up in her own bed this morning (even if she did take a slight detour for an hour or so into ours last night).

So why this picture?  Because it reminds me of how I'm starting to feel: a tad caged in.  There's a gate...I do get out...occassionally.  But with the cold season upon us, it's easy to get the "boxed in" feeling.  So I'm reminding myself that I'm not shackled to my house.  Sure, I'm not going anywhere today...during the day.  But Shane'll be home around dinner time...and I'll get out then, if I need to.

In the meantime...just look at those faces!  HOW CUTE!  Even in their "gated community".  They're very cute.  I'm very blessed.  So today...I'm going to CHOOSE JOY.  Today, I'm going to PRETEND that I've CHOSEN to stay home all day with them.  Today, I'm going to IGNORE the laundry.  Today, we're going to HAVE FUN!

For more Wordful Wednesday Blogs, check out Angie over at Seven Clown Circus:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Leaf Guys

Ty was VERY impressed with Granddad and Daddy's pile of leaves.  They worked very hard on Friday to clear our yard.  The massive wall of foliage in front of our house proves it!  Ty described it as something like the "most ginormousist pile in the world".  (Hey, he's smart...but not exactly a master of the english language quite yet...he's 4!)

Today, the joy of the leaf pile was multiplied by the fact that Ty was able to watch "The Leaf Guys" (a.k.a.: the town's public works employees) come and vacuum up those leaves.

Hey, do you think I could get a super-powered vacuum like that to clean up toys in the playroom?

Monday, December 1, 2008


*** Updated 12/2: No sooner had I typed this lovely thought than Ava stretched me to my limit...and I snapped!  It's the screaming.  I'm sure of it.  It's the high-pitched-dogs-gathering-on-the-front-porch- nails-running-down-the-chalkboard-continuous-loud-did-I-mention-high-pitched screaming!  It's anytime she's not in control.  Anytime she's not getting her way.  And it's driving me INSANE!  Thankfully, my mom answered her phone (thanks Mom...hope I didn't make you too late for work).  Today is a new day.  And so far today, we're okay.  The's still there...but it's not making me snap.  One day at a time, right? ***

What a great Thanksgiving, we had!  It was so good, I totally blew off my blog!  =)

Aside from losing the garbage disposal plug in the Turkey pan (not IN the actual turkey...just stuck in the turkey lifter), it was rather uneventful.  My Dad took the two "big kids" into NYC in the morning to visit his brother & sister's families.  They had a great time, and it cleared out the house (somewhat) for dinner prep.

I should have taken a picture of the was GORGEOUS.  Shane borrowed two long tables from church and set them up side-by-side on the back porch.  All 11 adults were able to sit together.  The "big kids" sat next to us at their own table.  And the babies (all 4) cooperated by napping!  The food was good, but the conversation and relaxing time was even better.

Since my parents came down Wednesday afternoon, Dad and I were able to rake up a bunch of the backyard leaves.  Thursday's weather was nice enough that the boys (including Cole) were able to head out back with PopPop & Uncle Tim for some fresh air after lunch.

Dessert was PLENTIFUL, to say the least.  Our neighbors came over as well as another couple we know from church.

One of our family traditions (carried on from Shane's family) is the Thanksgiving Poster.  Throughout the day, everyone is supposed to add what they're thankful for.  I realize you can't make out most of the comments and drawings on our board, but trust me, they're good!

There's a lot that I'm thankful for this past year: 5 healthy children, a loving (and helpful) husband, supportive families, disposable diapers, high-efficiency washing machine and dryers, clean people that come every two weeks...I could go on.  But what I'm REALLY thankful for (down deep under all the complaining) is how the Lord is stretching me.  I can't say that I feel that thankfulness at 3am or after an hour and a half of whining or after complete failure (twice) of not getting a good Christmas picture, but I am thankful.  Everyday, I'm shown areas that I need to grow.  Areas that I am growing.  Areas that I have grown.  I never would have imagined that I could handle being a mom to five kids.  And although there are days that I don't handle it well, I survive.  And there ARE days that I do MORE than survive...I actually find myself having fun and enjoying myself. 

So I'm thankful for the stretching.